Workers do not trust their managers

Managers need to do more to earn the trust of their employees and to ensure they feel fairly treated, according to a new survey into employee attitudes.

Trust in senior management is declining, particularly in the private sector, with only 25 per cent of all employees willing to place a lot of trust in senior management to look after their interests and 41 per cent placing little or no trust in them to do so.

The survey, Employee Well-being and the Psychological Contract by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), is being launched at the CIPD’s Psychology at Work Conference today.

It is the ninth survey in the series and is based on responses from more than 1,000 UK employees drawn from both private and public sectors. The survey explores trends in employee attitudes to work and relationships with managers and colleagues and provides a consistent baseline against which UK organisations can benchmark their own employment relationships.

Mike Emmott, CIPD employee relations adviser, said if employees don’t trust their employer, or don’t feel they are being treated fairly, this will be reflected in their lack of commitment and underperformance.

“If employees have a positive psychological contract, this means they will show higher levels of satisfaction, motivation and commitment to the organisation,” he said. “Research shows these factors are important in helping employers reduce absence, retain staff and solve recruitment difficulties.

“The survey shows that employers need to work a lot harder in order to get the best from their staff. Good communication is key, consulting people about change and ensuring they feel involved in the decision making process is basic good management.”

It is not only top management who have problems – trust in employees’ immediate line manager has also declined, dropping in the private sector by over 10 per cent over the past two years.

Fewer than half of respondents say their supervisor motivates them and only 37 per cent say their line manager actually helps them improve performance.

Other key findings from the survey include:

– 21 per cent of respondents said their jobs were either very or extremely stressful

– 26 per cent said they received little or no support from their supervisor

– 42 per cent said they have little control at work and 20 per cent indicated limited control

– Graduates report lower levels of satisfaction and commitment, despite often occupying senior positions

– Retention is more of a problem with highly employable graduates, especially those pursuing an independent career

– 24 per cent of graduates seek independent careers and this group want career success but on their own terms and not tied to a particular organisation.


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